Italy Intensives

Packing and Preparations

First rule – Pack Light!

You can buy things easily in Italy if you find you don’t have enough. Be sure you can easily manage your luggage by yourself.  Practice before you depart.  Bring less than you think you need, packing only essentials regarding weather changes.  We carry our luggage up and down stairs, on and off trains, and up and down our hill. 

You need to be able to manage your own luggage. There are no elevators in Certaldo lodgings and all lodgings are upstairs. 

Limit yourself to:
  • one carry-on size bag: 9” x 21” x 13”
  • one day pack for short overnights or day trips (on plane you can put your purse inside)
  • one checked bag of 50 pounds or less for fall and spring students only. 

Do not bring any additional bags. Your carry-on bag can be wheeled or a back pack if you prefer.  You will use this often for field trips or free weekend travel.  Make sure it is light and sturdy.

Some suggestions 
  • Be prepared for all weather. September will be warm but by October 1st, you may need a sweater. November is fall like, windy and cool, and it typically does not get really cold until late December.  January and February are cold and windy, with normally little or no snow. March and April are sunny and in the 60's, but often rainy.  May and June are warm to hot in the day and cool at night. Mid-June and July can be in the high 90’s.  Bring at least one thing for all types of weather – hot, warm, cool, and cold.  
  • During the full semester programs, bring one set of long underwear just in case.
  • Girls will want at least one dressier skirt/pants and boys may want one nice shirt and pants.   No high heels! Streets are cobbled and you can easily twist an ankle. 
  • Swimsuit, shorts or cover-up if you like. 
  • Underwear and socks. 
  • Girls should bring short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, and cardigans that layer and can be worn with either long pants, short or skirts.  Pick out a few things to wear on the bottom (like 2 pairs of long pants, a couple of skirts, capris or shorts) and then find tops that you can interchange with them.  Please do not bring extremely short shorts. Note that when we visit cathedrals boys and girls will need to have knees and shoulders covered.  This can be with a scarf if necessary. 
  • Two pairs of comfortable walking shoes. You might want one water resistant pair with Vibram-type soles for walking to town when it is wet and the other pair is in case you get blisters and need to change.  You can also bring sandals or flip-flops for shower shoes, or beach, and boots, clogs, or whatever you like to wear in colder weather.  Just keep your luggage as light as you can-shoes can weigh a lot! 
  • Jacket: bring a warm/fleece or down coat and a raincoat that has a hood. 
  • Warm hat and gloves. It is smart to have one pair of wool socks.
  • Something to sleep in. 
  • A towel that is thin and packs easily – something you don’t mind leaving behind! 
  • Documents and photocopies of credit cards and passport. 
  • Wristwatch or other time piece. A necessity so we can meet at designated times. 
  • Travel alarm clock or cell phone with alarm clock. 
  • Earplugs: a definite if night noises bother you. 
  • First-aid kit.  A few band-aids – moleskin for blisters, etc.   
  • Medicine and vitamins. Keep medicine in original containers with legible prescriptions.  You might also bring something like Pepto-Bismol tablets, Imodium, or Dramamine for motion sickness, cold medicines or aspirin/ibuprofen if you use them. If you take a prescription medication each day, bring enough for the entire time you are away.  Also be sure to bring at least one week’s worth in carry-on luggage in case your checked bag is lost or delayed. 
  • Extra eyeglasses, contact lenses, and prescriptions. Contact solutions are widely available in Europe. 
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen (you can easily buy both in Italy). 
  • Toiletries kit. Put all squeeze bottles in sealable plastic baggies, since pressure changes in flight can cause even good bottles to leak. If you bring any in your carry-on bag, all liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers, and all of these items must fit within a single, quart-size sealable plastic baggie. Bring a little toilet paper or tissue packets just in case. Fingernail clippers and tweezers are also handy. Remember you can buy shampoo, lotions, soap, etc. once you get to Italy. Fall and spring students will need soap in the Rome hostel.
  • Hand sanitizer for when you need to wash without water and to keep from getting sick.
  • Sealable plastic baggies. Get a variety of sizes. In addition to holding your carry-on liquids, they are ideal for packing leftover picnic food, containing wetness, and bagging potential leaks before they happen. The two-gallon jumbo size is handy for packing damp clothing. 
  • Sewing kit. Take along a few safety pins and buttons too. 
  • Travel information. If you don’t want to carry your travel book, read it at home and photocopy appropriate chapters from guidebooks and staple them together.  We have books in our library. 
  • Address list. A list of email and mailing addresses will help you keep in touch. You can send mass emails as you go. Bring a shrunk-down print-out of your email address book in case you can’t access it online. Or if you prefer to send postcards, consider printing your mail list onto a sheet of adhesive address labels before you leave. There will be Internet access in most cities we visit. 
  • Small notepad and pen or make your own in the book class. 
  • Do not bring a hairdryer or flat iron. Our current in Italy is different and will burn them. 
  • Direct Current Adaptor. In Italy the current is 220 V 50 cycles (in the US it is 110 V 60).  
  • Laptop Computer/iPod/Headphones/chargers, portable hard drive, etc.  all labeled carefully. 
  • Class Supplies- read syllabi for details

Special Things to Bring
  • Power converter or adapter. A power converter changes the voltage from the European 220 volt down to the U.S. 110 volt so you will not fry your electronics. An adapter is just a transition piece that allows you to plug your US electronics into the wall outlet. Your computer and other major electronics usually automatically convert the voltage (read the little box on your power cord, or check online) so depending on what electronics you bring, get what you need!!!  It’s a good idea to bring several of the adapters that will allow you to plug in your small electronic devices, chargers, computers, camera, etc.  You will want at least one for the studio and one for your apartment.  PUT YOUR NAME ON THESE AS THEY EASILY DISAPPEAR since we all use them! 
  • Sharpie or other permanent markers. Bring these or buy when you arrive and mark your personal items; and in particular electronic cords, etc.  We have so many people who own the same items that it can be very confusing. 
  • Do not bring hairdryers, curling irons etc., as they will almost always burn out, even with adapters. Wait to buy them in Certaldo. Most cost less than 20 euros and students in apartments can share the cost. 
  • Bring headphones for Skyping so we do not hear your private conversations.
  • Bring Ziploc plastic bags – they are difficult to find in Italy and can help you pack wet items.
  • Bring prescription medicines. Have them filled for the duration of your travel time.    
  • Pack non-prescription medications as well – cold meds, dizzy meds, headache, etc.        
  • Review packing list carefully for many other suggestions

Class Supplies

See class syllabi for supply lists and think carefully about what you want to pack from home. If you have any questions about what is available please contact our classroom manager, Lucy, at

There are office supply stores and paper stores (cartoleria) in Certaldo Basso where you can buy notebooks, pens, pencils, paperclips etc.  Our school office has a stapler, pencil sharpener, paper cutter, copy machine and printers.  You can also buy glue sticks, exacto knives, tape, etc. in Certaldo Basso. There is a small art supply store in Certaldo Basso, but most of us buy art supplies at larger stores in Florence.

For metals students there is a metals supply store in Florence that has some copper sheets and silver. We have copper and sterling silver in the studio, but it is best to bring whatever other metal you will be using with you.  If you are an upper level metals student and already have a selection of tubing, wire, or various small pieces of sheet, you might like to have some of that with you. If you are a beginning student we will have what you need here in Certaldo. You will need to pay for the supplies you use. We have jewelry and enameling kits that students check out to use. The tools they include are listed in the class syllabus.

For photographers, large format inkjet and laser photo printers are in our studios. See class syllabus for information on camera and computer requirements for the class.

Book Arts students will find lots of beautiful papers that can be purchased in Florence, Certaldo, or in our own school store for book arts classes. We have book board, linen threads, glue, polymer and acrylic paint. You can also make books with found papers, shopping bags, maps, photos or drawings. We have book arts kits that students check out to use during the semester. Kits include scissors, sewing needles, glue brushes and bone folders. Bring a ruler and exacto knife. Check syllabus for other supplies you might want to pack from the States.

You will be sent a syllabus for each class with specific information about supplies for that class.